Time unveiling Truth

The winged figure of Time, holding a scythe in the sky, reveals Truth, his daughter, who unmasks an old woman personifying Fraud. The four Cardinal Virtues kneel in tribute at Truth's feet. Fortitude rests by a lion which symbolises her courage, while Justice carries a sword and scales which refer to her power and impartiality. Further back Temperance carries a pitcher of water which signifies abstinence, and Prudence carries a snake, an allusion to her wisdom. In the top right-hand corner is a building which recalls the Pantheon in Rome.

The original patron is not known. The subject was not uncommon in painting, and Time and Fraud appear in similar roles in Bronzino's 16th-century 'Allegory with Venus and Cupid'.

Key facts

Artist dates
1679 - 1752
Full title
Time unveiling Truth
Date made
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
203 x 208 cm
Inscription summary
Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1979
Inventory number
Location in Gallery